Admonitions Scroll

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One section of the Admonitions Scroll

The "Admonitions Scroll" is one of the earliest surviving examples of Chinese painting. Attributed to Gu Kaizhi (c.344-c.407), with inscriptions attributed to Zhang Hua (232-300), the scroll depicts a series of scenes meant to instruct the viewer in correct moral behavior.

One of the scenes shows Lady Feng, a consort of Emperor Yuan of Han (r. 48-33 BCE), defending the emperor from a bear. Another scene shows Lady Ban, a consort to Emperor Cheng of Han, who famously refused to ride in the imperial palanquin, insisting that the emperor be surrounded instead by his ministers.

It was acquired by the British Museum in 1903 and remains in the museum's collection today. Woodblock print artist Urushibara Mokuchû produced woodblock print copies of the scroll in the 1910s, and Nihonga artists Kobayashi Kokei and Maeda Seison also studied and copied the scroll during a visit to London in 1922.


  • Gallery labels, British Museum.
  • Conrad Schirokauer, et al, A Brief History of Chinese and Japanese Civilizations, Fourth Edition, Cengage Learning (2012), 95.